ProNAi Therapeutics Closes on $59.5M to Advance Cancer Drug

4/22/14Follow @XconomyDET

ProNAi Therapeutics, a Plymouth, MI-based developer of novel nucleic acid treatments targeting cancer and other genetic diseases, said this week that it has closed a Series D financing round worth $59.5 million.

The round was led by Vivo Capital of Palo Alto, CA, and included new investors Frazier Healthcare Ventures, OrbiMed Advisors, Adams Street Partners, RA Capital Management, Caxton Alternative Management, Hopen Life Science Ventures, Sectoral Asset Management, and Janus Capital Management. Existing investors including Capital Midwest Fund, Apjohn Ventures Fund, Amherst Fund, and Grand Angels also participated in the financing round.

The funding round comes on the heels of ProNAi presenting its findings from an ongoing Phase 2 clinical trial of its drug, called PNT2258, at the December meeting of the American Society of Hematology in New Orleans. The drug is made up of DNA snippets encapsulated in lipid nanoparticles to help protect the drug on its journey to the desired biological target inside cells. ProNAi’s compound targets the cancer gene BCL2 and turns it off, so to speak.

ProNAi CEO (and Xconomist) Mina Sooch told Xconomy that PNT2258 was shown to be effective at shrinking tumors and keeping them that way, and also was found to be safe in the small study. Unlike most other cancer drugs, it’s non-toxic, doesn’t cause hair loss or weight loss, and doesn’t cause anemia, Sooch said.

As part of the Series D financing, Albert Cha (Vivo Capital), Peter Thompson (OrbiMed Advisors), and James Topper (Frazier Healthcare Ventures) have joined ProNAi’s board of directors. The company says the new funding will be used to advance PNT2258 in the Phase 2 clinical studies on patients with relapsed or treatment-resistant non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Sarah Schmid is the editor of Xconomy Detroit. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET

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